Storing Smartphone Batteries

Smartphone batteries, even ones in rugged devices need some special care if they are to be stored for any length of time. Here’s some simple steps to take that will make sure your smartphone batteries are kept in great working order after a period of not being used.

Storing smartphone batteries is important, and if you have a bunch of smartphones you use in your business but you’re not going to be using them for a while. We have customers who do a lot of this. They may be seasonal, have a sports season to work in, or they might just have 3-month breaks between doing surveys or questionnaires. So we often get asked whether there’s any special way to store smartphone batteries and the answer is absolutely, and not only that but you will extend the life of your smartphones, whether rugged or not, significantly if you follow a few basic steps.

Battery capacity loss over time

Battery capacity loss over time

Here’s what you need to do:

Charge your smartphone batteries….but don’t overcharge them!

Lithium ION batteries are funny little critters and one thing they don’t like is being empty! So, charging them fully sounds like a good idea if you’re going to leave them for a while, but this actually puts pressure on the battery.  Li-ION batteries actually have a very slow background discharge rate. So charge them to about 40-60% and the chances are in the months ahead they’ll still have charge in them which keeps them working well.

If it’s going to be cold, remember that batteries will discharge quicker and also a bit more charge will help them resist the cold, so this is why we say maybe 50-60% in the cold is better.

Disconnect the battery

I know it’s nice and easy to leave the battery connected in the Rugged Handheld and to be honest a lot of smartphones have sealed batteries these days so you can’t do much about them. However, ideally you want to remove the batteries and then stack them with nothing potentially draining their circuits. In a perfect world, you need a little bit of air in between each battery. Even though the smartphones might be off, anything connected to the battery terminals can drain them and can risk shorting them out too if a problem arises.

We can provide little 3D printed stackers for our R5 batteries so if you want to store them, just ask us for some!

Storage conditions

Batteries have unbelievably different characteristics depending on the climate they’re being used int. Even within their stated usage temperature limits, capacity can change radically, well over 50% in some cases. If you store your batteries in conditions that are too hot or cold then they will get damaged, if they get wet then they will definitely get damaged, IP ratings don’t apply to batteries!! It is also amazing what temperatures a top shelf in a cupboard can get to and actually even in the UK, the winters are getting so bad now that they are really messing up battery life if not looked after. Just make sure they are as close to room temp as possible, keep them dry, allow a bit of air around them and they should stay safe and sound.

Lastly some proof!

Battery capacity loss over time

You can clearly see the loss can be affected significantly by heat.  We also see the same loss when going under 0 degrees and into negative temperatures.

So, remember, that if you are storing your smartphone batteries for any period of time, then following these simple steps could be the difference between them working fine or needing replacement.


Posted by "Durable" Dave

My background is web/mobile software, mobile hardware, where I worked with some of the earliest PDA's on the market from HP and Microsoft and data capture where i've sold all of the main brands of rugged kit you'll find!

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